Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Chair for the History of Science

Research projects

Faculty Research Projects

→ "To Climb into Other Peoples' Heads". Thomas Kuhn, the History of Science and the Interview, Anke te Heesen

The Exhibition Catalogue as a Scholarly Monograph, Anke te Heesen

The Marshmallow Test: Psychology, Race and Education in the Americas, 1950–2010, Susanne Schmidt

Commodity and Value: A Different History of Fashion, Susanne Schmidt

Encyclopedias in the short 20th century, Mathias Grote

"Aus dem Kleinen bauen sich die Welten” - An Ecological History of Microbes and Humans, Mathias Grote

Membranes to Molecular Machines. Active Matter and the Remaking of Life, Mathias Grote

Hands-on History. Towards a History of Interactivity Through Looking at the Development of the Science Museums and Centers, Arne Schirrmacher

Knowledge of the Unknown. On the Emergence and Functional Logic of the So-called "Dark Figure" in the 19th Century, Sophie Ledebur

Judging, Healing, Punishing: Psychiatric Politics and Forensic Governance in Imperial Berlin, 1880-1914, Eric Engstrom

Postgraduate Research Projects

Visual Bureaucracies - A History of Knowledge of Art Dealing around 1900, Julia Bärninghausen

The Site of Hygiene Exhibitions: Placing Dresden 1911 in the History of Knowledge, Christine Brecht

Botanics in the Making (1500-1700): Communication and Construction of the Botanical Science in Early Modern Europe, Julia Heideklang

Promoting the West. The Expositions of the US Exhibition Section in Germany, 1945-1960, Jonas Kühne

Insects as a Global Commodity: Collecting Specimens in Early 20th Century Taiwan, Kerstin Pannhorst



"To Climb into Other Peoples' Heads". Thomas Kuhn, the History of Science and the Interview, Anke te Heesen

The interview is popular. And media historians are beginning tentatively to turn their attention to the format of the published dialogue, albeit with a primary focus on the journalistic interview. Yet, for the historian of science and with regard to the scientific interview, this approach remains unsatisfactory. While the journalistic interview may well have provided a blueprint for its scientific counterpart, its analysis cannot explain all aspects of the probing insistence that characterizes most scientific interviews.

The history of the scientific interview remains thus to be written. This desideratum is addressed in an exemplary study of the project Sources for the History of Quantum Physics. During its three year term (1961-1964), this NSF-funded project undertook to collect and make accessible the diversity of existing written documents and living memories of the major advancements in early 20th century physics. The philosopher of science Thomas S. Kuhn was commissioned as project leader and with the assistance of John Heilbronn and Paul Forman he soon assembled the first collection of oral history-sources in the history of science. Since their formation in the 1960s, these Archives for the History of Quantum Physics, as they became known, have been acclaimed as a unique repository of sources and they have given rise to numerous studies in the history of physics. To date, however, they have not been analyzed from a historiographical point of view, even though some 100 interviews, Kuhn’s team collected impressively illustrate that the project would have been inconceivable without psychoanalysis and modern interrogation techniques.

back to top


The Exhibition Catalogue as a Scholarly Monograph, Anke te Heesen

te Heesen  Museumskatalog ProjektbildThe 1970s are a crucial decade for the history of modern exhibitions: Not only does the number of exhibitions held in this period increase rapidly, but exhibition themes also become more diverse and new forms of presentation find their way into these spaces.

This Sattelzeit of exhibition history saw the emergence of shows that brought together and interwove both historical and artistic approaches. These  ‘thematic exhibitions’ (H. Szeemann) not only set the agenda for exhibition events in the following decades but also brought forth a new format:  The catalogue gradually ascen-ded to the rank of a scholarly monograph.


Picture credits: Cover of the "Kölner-Römer Illustrierten, Vol. I", edited by the Römisch-Germanischens Museum Cologne, 1974.

back to top


The Marshmallow Test: Psychology, Race and Education in the Americas, 1950–2010, Susanne Schmidt

GMOne marshmallow now—but a second one if you can wait: The marshmallow test is a psychological experiment to measure self-control in children and adolescents. According to social scientists, the ability to “delay gratification” indicates rationality, patience, and motivation. Children who ace the test—who wait for another marshmallow—have been shown to score better grades in school and achieve overall higher educational attainment, to be more confident, more successful in their job as adults, and altogether healthier and happier in their lives.

This research project studies the history of one of social science’s favourite measures, asking for its social and political implications and effects. It situates the “delay of gratification” paradigm in the history of race and education in the United States, the Caribbean, and South America, from the 1950s until the early twentieth century. By pointing out the political dimensions of conceptions of learning, competence, and cognition, the project contributes to contemporary debates about education, race, and inequality.

Fig.: "The Marshmallow Test." Screengrab via The Globe and Mail’s Youtube (April 2011).

Commodity and Value: A Different History of Fashion, Susanne Schmidt

Schnittmuster“Fashion” refers to the latest style of clothing, but the term is also used to describe and evaluate changing social and ethical norms, cultural habits, patterns of behaviour, and even political attitudes and scientific theory. The book project explores the history and function of this ambiguous, broad notion of fashion in which the material and the conceptual intersect. It contributes to an understanding of fashion as an ethical, economic, political, and epistemological concept.

The project studies fashion as a catchword of modern social thought, asking for its emergence, development, meaning, and function in ethics and law, anthropology, economics, and in mass communication and survey research. Starting in the late nineteenth century, the spread of mass-produced ready-to-wear fundamentally redefined the value and status of clothing. In this context, fashion acquired special significance for understandings of human behaviour and the social institutions. At once commodity and social force, fashion was used as an indicator to determine the social condition and trace and visualise processes of change. In ethics and juridical theory, the main concern was with implicit norms and their variability. An emblem of mass consumption, fashion and standardized clothing also constituted a habitual point of reference in economics, where the focus was on consumption, not production, and on the impact of lifestyle on demand. Similarly, students of public opinion and mass communication looked to fashion as the “symbolic body” of an increasingly diversified public sphere: while “clothing” provided warmth and protection, “fashion” transformed bodies into signs and symbols.

Fig.: Collection of paper patterns (C) Dahin/

back to top


Encyclopedias in the Short 20th Century, Mathias Grote

grote handbook 2Feature story about the joint publication project "Learning by the Book - Handbooks and Manuals in the History of Science"


The history of modern science has been primarily concerned with the question of how new knowledge is established. In contrast, it has often been overlooked that the systematization and preservation of knowledge, have been of utmost relevance for productive sciences. Encyclopedias, handbooks and comparable reference works have fulfilled this role, especially so in times of inflation of knowledge, controversy or doubt. While “encyclopedisms” of the early modern period have been historically well researched and the omnipresent internet encyclopedia Wikipedia has attracted some attention, encyclopedic knowledge of the modern sciences before the advent of the PC in the office and library has been little researched so far. This includes decidedly philosophical and political projects such as Otto Neurath's International Encyclopedia of Unified Sciences, but also large-scale handbook series (e.g. Emil Abderhalden's Handbuch der biologischen Arbeitsmethoden, Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, Gmelin's Handbuch der anorganischen Chemie). The relevance of such a canonizing handbook science (Handbuchwissenschaft) for research and teaching, however, already caught the eye of Polish epistemologist and bacteriologist Ludwik Fleck, a vigilant observer of his day’s sciences. This project will inquire, for example, which actors and institutions were enrolled in systematizing the constantly growing body of knowledge.

grote handbook 1 Moreover, it will be examined which forms of the book or precursors of today’s databases and search engines were created by scholars, institutions, and publishers long before the internet in order to preserve and make accessible general or extremely specialized knowledge. Technical and economic factors influencing the development of handbook science need to be taken into account as well as the issue to what extent encyclopedisms have been and remain political projects. Not least in light of the dramatic current changes in scholarly writing, publishing, and reading, implicit in keywords such as paywall, open access, big publishing, or preprints – this complex of problems is of the greatest interest for a critical reflection on science and its media. Interrogating innovation- and novelty-centered narratives of scientific development, this analysis of encyclopedias and handbooks will also help to conceptualize epistemic processes beyond innovation and novelty.

Picture credits: Volumes of Emil Abderhalden‘s Handbuch der biologischen Arbeitsmethoden, 1920-1939, photographs by M. Grote.

back to top


"Aus dem Kleinen bauen sich die Welten" - An Ecological History of Microbes and Humans, Mathias Grote

The SARS-COV2 pandemic has dramatically exacerbated the difficult relationship of humans and microbes: Practices of disinfection and compartmentalization have become commonplace and even talk of a "war" on microbes has resurfaced. Grote Ehrenberg Infusionsthierchen TitelThis friend-foe dichotomy, often simplified in the media, contrasts with an ecological perspective on microorganisms that conceives of diseases less as "invasions" by hostile bacteria or viruses than as disruptions of the interaction of different organisms depending on multiple causes. What is more, in light of insights from ecology and genomics, until recently even the notion of a productive role of microbes for planetary life seemed to gain a foothold, marveling at the abundance, abilities, and interactions of these small forms of life, as inherent in the key term of the microbiome.

This project sketches a history of ecological microbiology, which did not only set in with well-known figures such as the Russian-French explorer of soil and water microbes, Sergei N. Vinogradskii, or the American symbiosis researcher Lynn Margulis: Before Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch as microbiology’s founding figures, the Berlin naturalist Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg (1793-1876), from whose work the title of this project is borrowed, conceived of a little-known ecological microbiology avant la lettre. Ehrenberg, among many other things voyaging with Alexander von Humboldt, and his research have something to say about the history of 19th century science as well as about contemporary questions of people, microbes, and planet in surprising ways.

Picture Credits: Ehrenberg, C. G., Die Infusionsthierchen als vollkommene Organismen (Cover), Leipzig, Voss, 1838.

back to top


Membranes to Molecular Machines. Active Matter and the Remaking of Life, Mathias Grote

(see monograph)

Today’s sciences tell us that our bodies are filled with a fleet of the molecular machinery that orchestrates all sorts of life processes. When we think, our brain cells’ “membrane channels” open and close, when we run, tiny “motors” in our muscle membranes spin, and when we see, the light operates “molecular switches” in our eyes and nerve. When we suffer from a disease, a doctor may prescribe us a pill “blocking” a specific part of such machinery. These examples also hint at the fact that a molecular-mechanical vision of life has become part and parcel of everyday practices around the globe, as much as it has become big business.

This book tells the story of how science and technologies have shaped this molecular-mechanical vision of life in the late 20th century, thereby adding a contemporary chapter to the philosophical problem of the relationship between organisms and machines that have been lingering since the days of Descartes. The concrete historical example provided by this book also allows us to put flesh on the bones of philosophical discussions on mechanisms, which often remain abstract and bound to a few textbook examples.

By following the unwritten history of cell membranes (an essential feature of life just as genes) this book explores how life’s molecular machinery was shaped by the experimental investigation – by taking life apart to its components and putting it back together, by re-making and modelling biological processes in the test tube.

Grote Cover MembranesAfter the postwar heyday of genetics, membranes became a next big thing around 1970, leading to a veritable “membrane moment,” in which fields such as bioenergetics, neurobiology or synthetic biologies moved centre stage, significantly reshaping the landscape of the life sciences and highlighting the relevance of chemistry to what this field is today.

Set in America, the UK and West-Germany of the 1970s and 1980s, the story of membranes and molecular machines involved a number of key institutions (such as the University of California at San Francisco, Cambridge’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology or the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Munich) and characters that were to shape their fields for decades. Biophysicist Richard Henderson, for example, shared a Nobel Prize in 2017 for his electron microscopy work on a “molecular pump” described in this book. Not least, this book also tells an astonishing episode of how 1980s scientists, tinkerers and tech-enthusiasts attempted to turn molecular machinery into working technologies such as “biochips” or “biocomputers,” which represents an early and unexpected chapter in the development of nanotechnologies. Currently, the history of membranes and molecular machines is highly relevant. This not least since optogenetics, a hotbed of activity at the crossroads of science, biotech and medicine, engineers the machine-like components of cells and bodies, setting out to change again how contemporary societies conceive of life and matter and how we act on both.

Picture Credits:  Grote, M., Membranes to Molecular Machines. Active Matter and the Remaking of Life (Cover), University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2019.

back to top


Hands-on History. Towards a History of Interactivity through Looking at the Development of the Science Museums and Centers, Arne Schirrmacher

190430 Schirrmacher Projektbild

The history of scientific-technical modernity as the formative culture of the Western world is both a history of experience and a history of transmission - and thus above all a history of media. Instead of looking at print media or audiovisual media, the project focuses on the
exhibition medium with its qualities of directness, materiality and interactivity. Since the French Revolution, the science museum has been set in motion time and again as a "political machine" to generate scientific images or to recruit engineers. Interactivity became the bait to catch the "technological citizen" and to commit him or her to participate in social agendas. Since the end of the 1960s, the interactive science centre has aroused new enthusiasm for the phenomena of science, but with its history and consequences, it did not take it as seriously. Today, in turn, citizens should discuss future paths with politicians in the "participatory museum" and thus help to legitimize them.

On closer inspection, it becomes soon apparent that the fashionable concept of interactivity is anything but well-defined; rather, it unites many, sometimes contradictory layers of meaning. In the framework of a Hands-on History, which considers the use of demonstration models and interactive forms of representation in science museums, exhibitions and science centres for the 20th century and pursues their mobility institutionally and geographically, the concept of interactivity will also be historicised. In this way, the discussion about the politics of display of individual objects or exhibitions will be expanded to include general mechanisms, and historical developments in the interlocking of the transmission media of science on the one hand and politics and society on the other will be revealed.

Picture credits: Drawing by Hugo Kükelhaus, Geräte zum Erleben von Naturgesetzen im Spiel konzipiert u.a. für die Weltausstellung 1967. Source:

back to top


Knowledge of the Unknown. On the Emergence and Functional Logic of the So-called "Dark Figure" in the 19th Century, Sophie Ledebur

190219 Lebedur projektbildThe “dark figure” is a term used in statistics to refer to hidden events that are nevertheless assumed to happen. In common parlance, it has enjoyed some success as a compelling argument in security policy. As a construct that expresses suspicion, it has the power to fan fear, encourage speculation, generate extrapolation and trigger research. The issue of hidden, unreported crime has been the object of “dark field” research (e.g. victimization surveys) in Germany since the early 1970s. Over the last two decades, in particular, darkfield studies have featured within large-scale research programmes aimed at optimising crime prevention. While there has been an upsurge of this work, the history of this “knowledge of the unknown” has remained largely in the dark.

Talk of a (usually big) ‘dark figure’ plays its part both in the horror inspired by an unfathomable abyss and in the promise of ready-made solutions. The epistemic status of this construct caught in a limbo between knowledge and unknowledge has been underdetermined. In German, the term ‘Dunkelziffer’ (‘dark number’) was coined in 1908. However, concerns about a disconnect between actual incidents and the ability to capture the facts date back to the late 18th century. The history of the dark figure avant la lettre is explored by analysing selected themes drawn both from the health sector and from crime policy. Questions are asked about the historical circumstances that made unsecured knowledge become an object of attention and opened up fields of intervention. Contemporary quests targeting activities at the heart of public life that were believed to be shrouded in danger cannot be seen in isolation from techniques for mapping unknown territories. These methods were seen as a new way to render the ‘essence’ of social collectives visible. The project focuses on uses of the construct of (un)knowledge and on the demands and policies set in motion as a result. This dynamic relationship enables us to cast light on state practices of governance from a perspective of (un)knowledge. The research aims to contribute to a history of social governance by examining techniques that reference danger.

Picture credits: C.P.T. Schwencken: Aktenmäßige Nachrichten von dem Gauner- und Vagabunden-Gesindel, sowie von einzelnen professionirten Dieben, in den Ländern zwischen dem Rhein und der Elbe, nebst genauer Beschreibung ihrer Person. Cassel 1822, S. 645.

back to top


Judging, Healing, Punishing: Psychiatric Politics and Forensic Governance in Imperial Berlin, 1880-1914

Klee Irrenhaus

The project explores the multifaceted panoply of forensic-psychiatric entities in the Prussian capital prior to World War One. It is structured around three forensic spaces occupied by the criminally insane: the courtroom, the hospital, and the prison. The project analyzes the overlapping jurisdictions and regulative priorities governing the relationship between these three cultural spaces. It draws on an ensemble of legal decrees, administrative practices, expert and public discourses, as well as the historic traces of forensic-psychiatric subjects themselves to triangulate these spaces and understand what it meant to judge, heal, and punish the criminally insane in Imperial Berlin.

Picture Credits: SK Bern: Paul Klee, Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 2. Bern 2000. Abb. 1454.

back to top






Visual Bureaucracies – A History of Knowledge of Art Dealing around 1900 (working title), Julia Bärnighausen

julia bärnhighausen foto homepage.jpgThe dissertation project explores a series of photographs attributed to the Galleria Sangiorgi in Rome and recently rediscovered in the decorative arts section of the photo library of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence – Max-Planck-Institute. On account of their strikingly complex materiality and their revealing visual qualities, they open up a trans-temporal network of different actors, including the photographs themselves as historically shaped and mobile “photo-objects”.

The Galleria Sangiorgi was founded by the Italian entrepreneur Giuseppe Sangiorgi (1850–1928) at the Palazzo Borghese in Rome in 1892. It soon became one of the world’s largest and most successful art-dealing and auction houses. Today it is almost unknown amongst historians and art historians. Like many of his contemporaries, Sangiorgi kept a workshop where the antiquities from his collection were reproduced for sale. The photographs, which were used as reference copies, communication devices and samples, circulated amongst collectors, art dealers, artists and photographers inside and outside the gallery and between its representations in New York, Paris and London. Through partly unknown itineraries they were spread across different archives. A large holding of both photographs and drawings deriving from Sangiorgi has been preserved at the photo library of the Fondazione Zeri in Bologna. The Florentine photo-archive constitutes yet another (epistemic) layer in the sedimentation of these documents, which took on a whole new set of meanings within the context of an art-historical image collection.

The thesis attempts to reconstruct the history of the Sangiorgi family and their gallery as well as examine practices of art-dealing around 1900. This work will be underpinned by a series of interviews and archival research in Italy, France and Germany as well as in the USA and in the UK. Above all, the case study aims to uncover the epistemological potential that lies within photographs if they are not only considered as images but also as material and “three-dimensional” objects with their own biographies.

Picture Credits: Mirror (1st h. 18th c.), albumen print on cardboard, unidentified photographer (Galleria Sangiorgi, Rome), around 1900, 26 x 13,7 cm (cardboard), inv. no. 615786, dep. ”Kunstgewerbe” in the photo library, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut.

back to top


The Site of Hygiene Exhibitions: Placing Dresden 1911 in the History of Knowledge

brecht, abbildung

While hygiene exhibitions can be traced back to the 1870s, most historians have situated them in the context of the twentieth century’s health education and body politics, especially in the German case. Thus, the fact that these object lessons addressed and involved not only lay audiences but also a whole range of scientific experts remained largely unacknowledged.

Focussing on the Internationale Hy-gieneausstellung Dresden 1911, one of the greatest exhibitions of its genre at the time, the project explores the historical contingencies and meanings of both modes of knowledge presentation, mass instruction as well as science communication. It focuses on the specific actors and practices of exhibiting and thereby raises the following questions: How were scientific instruments and objects to be shown and seen in the different sections of Dresden 1911? Which modes of display – old and new, commercial or museological – were at stake? Where did the exhibits come from, be it their disciplinary, institutional, national or colonial points of origin? In which ways did scientists (e. g. bacteriologists, food chemists and industrial hygienists) participate, whether as exhibitors, curators, commentators and/or visitors? Besides substantial written record the project draws on selected photographs, maps, drafts and other graphical materials in order to place Dresden 1911 in the larger history of the presentation of scientific knowledge in exhibition spaces.

Picture credits: Laboratory exhibit in the nutrition hall of the Internationale Hygieneausstellung Dresden 1911. Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden, Sammlung, DHMD 2001/196.60.

back to top


Botanics in the Making (1500–1700): Communication and Construction of the Botanical Science in Early Modern Europe, Julia Heideklang

HeideklangThe dissertation project explores small forms within the context of botanical scientific writings in early modern Europe (1500–1700). A central premise of the project is the strong interdependence between scientific texts, on the one hand, as literary products under specific aesthetic and economic constraints and on the other hand the authors’ efforts to position themselves within both a literary tradition and their contemporary scientific community. The form and content of early modern scientific texts—and in particular their paratexts—are deeply shaped by contemporary scientific discourse; at the same time, they shape that very discourse. Despite their seemingly marginal position, in fact, paratexts play an important role as epistemic catalysts in defining the botanical science and strengthening its independence in the early modern era. The project will analyze a selection of representative botanical works, especially the historiae and Kreut-terbücher, paying attention to title pages, dedicatory epistles, dedicatory poems and other prefaces and their relationship to the larger work. The project thereby aims to offer deeper insight into the communication strategies, literary composition and forms, by which early modern authors shaped their readers’ perception of their writings. More broadly, it seeks to understand the development of botanical science’s self-conception and how this self-conception, in turn, was conveyed to those in- and outside the scientific community.

Picture credits: Title-page of Andrea Cesalpinoʼs De plantis libri XVI, Florentiae: Apud Georgium Marescottum 1583. (digitised by Zentralbibliothek Zürich: NB 721;

back to top



Promoting the West. The Expositions of the US Exhibition Section in Germany, 1945-1960, Jonas Kühne

Kühne ProjektbildThis research project studies the American exhibition program in Germany after World War II. It examines the expositions of the US Exhibition Section between 1945 and 1960. Despite their diversity in form, content and visual appearance they served a common objective. They facilitated the orientation and activation of the German audience in favour of a capitalist consumer society. They, on the other hand, intended to integrate the Federal Republic of Germany into the community of values of the transatlantic West during the early Cold War period.

The study is focusing on three main points. First, the US Exhibition Section is described as a transnational curatorial organization, which neither had the purpose of collecting and presenting like a museum nor was it a part of performing or visual arts. For a better understanding of this kind of expositional work, this section will look into the organizational history, the transatlantic actor-network as well as the production conditions under which the exhibitions were put on display.

Secondly, six illustrative exhibition ensembles will be examined at the level of design, content and reception: the travelling exhibition program in the American Information Centers (1947-49), the Marshall Plan exhibitions (1950-52), the Berlin-based expositions “ATOM” (1954), “Kleider machen Leute” (1955) and “Unbegrenzter Raum” (1956), and the trade fair booth on US agriculture at IKOFA in Munich (1958).

The exhibition analyses shall thirdly help to answer the following questions: How did the political environment of the Cold War shape the exhibitions? Against this background, how did the West and East German audience perceive them? Which influences of the history of exhibitions before 1945 are reflected in the examined expositions? How did they adapt and refine preceding curatorial experiences? How did the US Exhibition Section shape the subsequent development of exhibiting in West Germany?

Picture credits: US Exhibition Section staff members with models of an agricultural exhibition, ca. 1947/48, Nuremberg, Germany. Estate Claus-Peter Groß, photographic collection Kunstbibliothek, SMB.

back to top



Insects as a Global Commodity: Collecting Specimens in Early 20th Century Taiwan, Kerstin Pannhorst

The project takes a closer look at the practices of collecting, processing, and trading insects in early 20th century Taiwan, specifically the entanglement of practices surrounding research specimens and specimens collected for the decorative arts. In the „field“, in this case, the mid-altitude mountains of central Taiwan, diverse actors competed for specimens: Some desired insects for taxonomical and biogeographical descriptions, others for research into economically relevant species, and yet others for the production of decorative objects. The dissertation explores whether scientific and artisanal practices stabilized each other, leading to mass production of insect artefacts and insect knowledge.

Lepidoptera pannhorstEarly in the 20th century, Hans Sauter, a German entomologist and collecting entrepreneur based in Taiwan, collaborated with the first director of the German Entomological Museum in Dahlem towards the „mass-fabrication of knowledge“ about Taiwan's insect world. Tens of thousands of carefully packaged insects collected in the Japanese colony Taiwan were sent along global trading routes towards the goal of a successive publication of a „complete fauna of Formosa“. In the same period, Yasushi Nawa, a Japanese entomologist and entrepreneur, sent scores of insect collectors to the island. The animals served both for research into injurious and beneficial species and for the production of decorative objects such as paper fans or postcards made using butterfly specimens. He sold butterfly decorative art via mail order and in department stores in Japan and abroad. Fleas, beetles or butterflies became resources that were accumulated, traded, and turned into artefacts – into „authentic“ representations of nature for research purposes or into aesthetic commodities.  The project follows the insects from the field to the natural history museum respectively the department store. It focuses on the entanglement of the highly specialized practices involved and on the economies behind the global circulation of these fragile materials.

Picture credits: Packaging materials used by Hans Sauter to send Lepidoptera from Taiwan to Germany in the early 20th century. Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, coll. Lepidoptera and Trichoptera. Photo by Kerstin Pannhorst.

back to top